Health Watch: Flu season comes early to Fairbanks area

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) As the season changes, there are new illnesses to be on the lookout for. According to local Pediatrician Mishelle Nace, one of those illnesses, namely the flu, has started early this year. She says that season normally starts around November but, "This year we are actually seeing it already here in September. We’ve already had cases.”

As the season changes, there are new illnesses to be on the lookout for. According to local pediatrician Mishelle Nace, one of those illnesses, namely the flu, has started early this year. [Photo Courtesy Storyblocks Enterprise]

With the early start of the flu season, Dr. Nace is already encouraging people to protect themselves from the illness.

“The most significant one would be getting a flu vaccination," stated Nace. "Those are already available in town. Anyone aged six months on up is recommended to get a flu shot this year.”

More than just protecting yourself, Dr. Nace says getting vaccinated helps protect those who can't get vaccinated because they are under six months old or they are semi-immunocompromised.

One of the questions she says she gets a lot is, ‘Does the flu shot cause the flu?’

“The flu shot is an inactivated form of the flu," began Nace. "It does not transmit the flu. You could get the flu because you have already been exposed to it in another way, but the flu shot itself does not cause the flu.”

Other forms of protection Nace recommends are washing your hands and avoiding those who are currently sick. If you are already sick, she says washing your hands and keeping your distance is also a good way to avoid spreading it. She says this can be hard to do, because people are often contagious the day before they show any symptoms. She added that you remain contagious about a week into your symptoms.

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